The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) -for about four decades since its founding in 1962- adopted a single-sided approach, exclusively focusing on increasing agricultural production and providing farmers with financial assistance. Despite the fact that environment friendlier terms were first introduced in the MacSharry reform in 1992, the intensification of agricultural management, its mechanization and the increased chemical control posed major environmental problems such as soil and water pollution, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, non-sustainable water abstraction, risk of desertification of large areas, burdened agri-food chain.
The main objectives of the European Union and its Member States are to halt the loss of biodiversity and protect natural capital under the new European Green Deal by 2030. Along with these targets comes a transition to a friendly agriculture based on competitive but sustainable management, and new opportunities for an agri-food chain that will respond to consumers’ and producers’ needs but will also protect the climate and the natural environment, according to the new strategy From Farm to Fork.
Respectively, the new Common Agricultural Policy 2023-2027, though it has not succeeded in the past, is committed to contribute in achieving the goals of the European Green Deal and the Farm-to-Fork Strategy.
Despite the fact that CAP is the most expensive EU policy (€50-60 billion/year) and is responsible for directing agricultural management throughout Europe, this powerful tool guided its basic financing packages (at least until 2013) mainly supporting farmers with direct payments and subsidies.
This policy established an agricultural model which is dependent on subsidies and direct payments. The key implications were the following: (i) the absence of substantial innovation in the majority of agricultural holdings, (ii) an agricultural model without competitive advantage and quality characteristics, (iii) unsustainable long-term holdings, with a negative impact on biodiversity and the environment. The "green" architecture of the CAP for the period 2014-2020 tried to create horizontal measures for the environmental improvement of agricultural holdings (e.g. implementation of green measures in agricultural areas> 10ha). However, this policy proved to be inapplicable to many member countries such as Greece where the majority of agricultural holdings were of a much smaller size (<3ha).
The EU member states - including Greece- have demonstrated an undoubted weakness in the past to mobilize farmers to adopt voluntary Agri-environmental measures that purely benefit biodiversity. In addition to that, horizontal national CAP measures are created and adopted, but they are not focusing on the regional and local characteristics of the agricultural land of each region, causing intense concerns for the effectiveness of the concept of enhanced conditionality and the new CAP for the period 2023-2027. This horizontal "philosophy" leads to a problematic implementation of non-helpful and measures in many areas.
The above practices have led to the conversion of agricultural land into "solid-unified" land with the expansion of monocultures, the homogenization of the agricultural ecosystem, the loss of mosaic from the rural landscape, the destruction of natural structural elements, the reduction of biodiversity and the extinction of farmers with small land plots. High rates of chemical inputs are also applied to the farm in a variety of cases, usually without a protocol. In addition to that, intensive chemical pest control has removed beneficial biological organisms from the ecosystem that had the power to naturally regulate the physical control of pests.
Today, the intensification and expansion of rural ecosystems is recorded as the greatest threat to biodiversity and has led to the general degradation of ecosystem services and the reduction of biodiversity.
For all the above reasons, the “Association for Management and Conservation of Biodiversity in Agricultural Ecosystems” - "TYTO" fights and participates through its representatives in the processes to co-shape the framework for the new national CAP of the period 2023-2027. We participate in the Strategic Planning of the new framework and the formulation of measures for the new agricultural policy, we intervene, inform, and join forces with foreign researchers to create and submit analyses in all the axes that compose the Common Agricultural Policy. The latest report and critique of the previous CAP 2013-2020 was submitted and presented to >both the European Parliament and former Commissioner